Busy Men

I’m gunna be a busy man
Like the busy men you see being busy on BBC
But not a bad busy man
I’ll do good things with my busy words
I’ll be the busy man to help the un-busy people

He’s back
Slouched in chair, Tiger in hand
He’s flicking
TV clicking
He’s the king
With his Tesco mobile ring

Ma’s in the car
Orange, red, white
White, red, orange
The tiger’s eyes beaming
The garage cage gleaming
TJ’s car’s round the corner
Ma won’t know he’s back

Click, click, lock in key
Thud, thud, boots off
Tesco bags ruffle
She stops, just before the TV light, so she’s
She can sense it:
Boots still on
Fizzle of a can
King to her princess

Ma tucks me in
Every light off
‘Read me a rhyme’
‘Not tonight little man’
‘Come on Ma, come on’
‘Ma’s got’a make TJ some chicken’
Closing door, then, just head
‘Did you let him in?’
‘Sorry Ma.’
Bang, ring, silence

Resonating ringing
Circling screaming
Sudden smash
Bone in crash
Teddy safe, pillow clinging

Ma’s eye’s gone black
Not brown black
Black black
My eggs are all wrong

TJ’s phone’s on the table
His jacket on the chair
There’s a dirty plantain plate sinking
He’s staying, this time

Swing-ing, swing-ing, smack
Smack, smack, swing
Swing-ing, swing-ing
Stick’s broken

Why don’t I call him Pa?

Ma says you got’a be a brave man
A brave busy man
You got’a say when it’s not right
You got’a say, or things’ll never be right
Just like cleaning the dirty egg pan

Maybe the chicken boiled

It’s five, the sun’s up but the pillow’s up
I got some chicken rice n’ peas
Ma says I got’a stay in my room tonight
Read the rhymes
Read ‘em quiet

TJ’s voice is loud
Boom, boom, booming
Ma’s voice’s screeching
Screech, screech, screeching
TJ’s voice is louder
TJ’s voice wins this battle of beats
Beat, beat, beat
Beat, beat, beat
Black and red

Red and black
Like that plane last night
Black and red
Red and black
Like her last night

Dribble, dribble, dab
Dab, dab, dribble
Dribble, dribble
Ma’s leaking

I thought TJ would go last night
Ma thought TJ would go last night:
She didn’t make him any chicken
TJ didn’t go last night
TJ wants his throne

Tesco bags ruffle
In goes teddy, no pillow
PJ’s go in, no rhymes
‘Put your shoes on little man’
‘We’re just busy people and-‘
‘Busy people have busy places to be’
‘That’s it.’
Why do busy people have to run from lazy places?

Vroom, vroom, vroom
Ruffle, squish, ruffle

TJ will have to make his own chicken
In our palace

Ma says he’s got to learn to be a busy man
Not a bad busy bag-o-wire
But a busy man
To help the un-busy people




She’d always known it would be you.
Known before she’d known what knowing was.
Born in some inaudible breath
something had noticed her;
written her name on a future
written her name on a name
a name she was only just hearing
Under the Bakerloo sign directing to Waterloo.
Amidst faces leaving and coming and arriving and leaving was
smiling on a breath for
you too knew it was you.


Kingston Minded

Your eyes roll back into a memory,
perhaps of papayas or women.
Something lightens in you
And you’re back in the room staring at your soup.
It’s dribbled onto your napkin, tucked in like a bib
– I think to ask where you were –
It’s mushroom even though you never liked them.
Remember when you fed me bananas mashed with avocado
and told me I had my mother’s hair, and used the spoon to catch what fell on my chin,
look at us now.
Is it hard?
On some days, in some moments when I realise you may never return
It is hard.
To see you in an M and S dressing gown by a grey window
because I know it’s not what you would have wanted,
Dreaming of women or papayas.
It makes you ask when enough is enough.
I show you photos taking any slight breath off beat as a sign.
I show them of people and places
all that you loved.
One Tuesday you said a name
I didn’t know, but nor did I recognise the face you pointed at.
You said the name, took the photo, held it for the rest of my visit,
but made no further comment.
These moments give something.
To you I am your father, your neighbour, your Aunt, your grandchild, the nurse that works weekends, your friend, people I’ve never heard of, but never your daughter.
How can you mistake me for so many people but me?
It’s okay as goodbyes were said back when the word held meaning;
Now syllables slip over you and from you
as you ferment on breathing.
I preferred it when you used to bite.
I use your name but as a sound rather than someone.
I don’t mean to reduce you
it’s just hard.
You have walked so far –
I keep trying to ask if there is anything you want done, anything you want said
Anything in you, anything.
I keep trying, but it gets to the point when it’s enough.
– you have walked so far out there’s no coming back.
It’s okay.

Time runs upon us.

Seeing you sit there
I smile,
imagine you Kingston minded

sucking papayas and dancing with women.

Like standing in a wet wood. 

Where all your problems

 run off, as you realise you’re as small and

as missable as rain on the leaves. 

Breathing with the dampness 

you feel it’s enough. 

To be here. 

It’s enough. 

And you run,

with the sky drumming above 

Teen Idle

Your hand rests on my knee.
You want a word so I
give you one:
The span between age and mind.
Laughing you take another
My space is large, your’s is little
and it ten days I will break up with you for this reason.
Laughing, I take a

AO1 description:
Small breasts and thighs that touch,
short hair, thin hair and a big bum –
it gets pinched on Fridays as
I ferry pints between beards.
Flex the fingers, biro blue.
AO2 evaluate:
At the tipping point between seventeen and
eighteen your life
wobbles in an
You can’t cough without anxiety.
Ugly, menstruating, stressed: UMS.

Continue reading “Teen Idle”


Late last night I wrote a poem,
on a postage stamp by the light of my phone.
In a few short lines
I’d discovered it.
The meaning of it all that is.
The secret.
I tucked it under the pillow, confident
and content.
In the morning there it was,
what I’d been looking for all this time.
Forgetting what I’d written I thought I’d wait, enjoy
it over a brew, teaspoon of sugar –
to celebrate.
Holding it between thumb and finger –
fragile it was –
I walked into the bathroom with it –
to open a window – it had been hot that night.
When I pushed the glass
a trapped pocket of air blew forth in such a way
that it picked up my poem
and dropped it in my loo.
It was the sort of ink that dissolved when wet
so by the time I stared down at it
it had gone.
Two atoms held me in the space:
And when I moved it was just to flush the loo,
there was nothing else for it.
The energy chuckled
‘You fool’, it whispered.


My mind is sliding into seas and no one is noticing
no one has mentioned the faint smell of sanity

My mother has cooked eggs.
The third time this week,
folded in
on themselves
and stuffed with cheese.
It takes a day for a chicken to make an egg, two more for it to reach the store – that is a seventeen minute slow walk from this front door – and three sitting in a cupboard before my mother cracks them into a bowl seasoned with chives, it takes four minutes to cook the eggs and then another two once flipped, it is approximately twenty five minutes of me staring for them to go cold
I don’t know the length of time it takes them to reach the ocean
floating alongside dead goldfish.

I had this dream where I climbed a mountain.
I was accompanied by a large white falcon
who sang hymns.

My father went to buy milk;
it has now been seven years and my cereal is still dry.

I sat in the park and watched women wearing fur walking their
dogs, but actually the dogs were walking the women.
We are a misguided species
and one day the canines will be king.

They thought it was unsinkable because they hadn’t accounted for the ice.
They think we are unsinkable
But the ice will screw us over again.

It’s easier than you think to sink

My reality is relocating
like the clouds after they have emptied themselves

On Wednesdays my mother luncheons with her friends.
Over strawberry daiquiris and
calorie counted mouthfuls
They speak of how their sons are applying to Princeton
or the sort of man they wish to find for their girls.
My mother smiles and sips and hopes they forget she has a daughter.

If you could be anyone else who would you be?
I would be Jolene Williams
whose funeral I accidentally attended last Sunday.
She was twenty one years old and died in a mortar accident.
Even though everyone was crying and calling it a tragedy
I knew – like she probably knew,
Lying on the pavement in petrol –
That she had a lucky escape
Got out early.
‘God just needed a new angel’
but apparently he won’t take applications.

We’re bigger than the world,
Really I’d just be doing everyone a favour.

My mother is allergic to eggs.

What if I did’t account for the days
If the new year passed by because you were still living in the last
Are the seven days of a butterflies life an eternity to their
Time only exists because we watch the clock.
How can we be expected to live in such irrationality?

Dr Jenkins is trying to help me locate myself.
He wants me to find it
so that I may reestablish my footing in the world.
But the world is
even more so than the park pavements after

But I smile at Dr Jenkins
in the same way that I smile at my mothers friends
and talk of my plans to apply to college some time
whilst writing down my favourite baby names incase I forget
and learning how to make strawberry daiquiris
but not too much rum so I can’t stand to sing in church
and I must keep myself pretty for the boys
and never eat all the cake
but do read, just not too much
make omelettes because eggs are good for chickens
and don’t forget the kiss for the new year
is that petrol in the air
it’s okay for birds can be white in dreams
and fathers turn sour like milk anyway
don’t worry about the dog it’s made out of ice
and you have folded in on yourself like an angel
wearing wings for rain

one day

one day soon

it will all be over

and then

we’ll know the taste of water on our breath.


It’s heavy and light;
Damp and warm.
Open your palm wider:
It’s vast and floating.

At noon it’s blue;
Orange by five.
Birds flew by at dawn. A wing brushed my thumb,

I place it down in the sink and watch it under the taps:
The rain is contained in its edges, but
Clouds shadow the porcelain.

It thundered on Thursday
Turning the hairs up on the back of my hand.

I don’t know when it fell, but
I found it whilst planting tulips.
Maybe it was nudged, knocked down for me.
A peep hole for you